Welcome to the 242nd edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Twitter had a mishap this week. A bug in their system had passwords stored as plain text. That is obviously not great news. However, Twitter did find the bug, fix it, and issued a notice to all of their users. Thankfully, they fixed it already. There isn’t any evidence of a hack, exploit, or anything like that. Sometimes it’s nice to hear that something is a bug and not a hack. Still, we highly recommend that everyone on Twitter change their password for obvious reasons.
- Google has a secret gaming startup, apparently. A report this week indicated that Google is working on a bunch of arcade games with social elements. There aren’t a ton of details Google Arcade right now. We know it’s part of Area 120, an incubator for startups at Google. Of course, if it’s successful, we’ll hear about it. It’ll simply fold if it’s not. It could be neat to see what Google can do in the field of social gaming.
- A podcast network bought Pocket Casts this week. Pocket Casts is among the best podcast apps ever. We like it, our competitors like it. Basically everybody likes Pocket Casts. The podcast network includes NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago, and This American Life, among others. They likely bought the app for the user data since Pocket Casts is so popular. The only statement we’ve had is that they intend on leaving the app alone for now.
- Google Now Launcher is officially (finally) on its way out. The app is now incompatible with most Android devices according to reports. Everybody knew this was coming, of course. Google announced this almost a year ago. Those with Google Now Launcher still have access to it. However, they won’t be able to get it back again if they uninstall or switch phones. RIP, Google Now Launcher.
Will Hero is an arcade-platformer. You play as a little dude with a bunch of weapons. The player hops from spot to spot, kills bad guys, and tries not to die. The game also features simple one-touch mechanics, a little bit of a story, and plenty of various power ups to help. The developers claim that it's not a time waster game. However, we still think it is, it's just a really good one. There is a palpable challenge to the game and it's colorful and fun. It's definitely not for everybody, but we think it's okay.
Forest is the latest app in a new genre of apps. It is useful for smartphone addiction. Here's how it works. The app plants a virtual tree. The tree grows as long as the app remains open and the tree dies if you leave the app. It's a neat premise, really. The app keeps track of the forest you build by not using your phone. You can also share your forest with others, unlock new trees, and track how long you don't use your phone. The free version contains ads. The pro versoin does not. Otherwise they work the same.
Still Here is an adorable little puzzle-adventure game. It features simple mechanics, above average graphics, and a story about a world without humans. There are also three playable characters, various quests, some character customization, and 15 levels. The game takes a more laid-back approach to the genre. It's a very pleasant experience as you roam around uncovering various mysteries. The game goes for $3.99 with no in-app purchases or advertisements.
Siempo is a minimalist Android launcher. It helps avoid distractions as you go about your day. The entire thing is wholly customizable. However, it does take some time to setup. Additionally, the app asks for your intentions as you enter. It then lets you flag specific apps that you don't want to see while doing that thing. Thus, if you intend on doing work, you can make the app hide Facebook, YouTube, etc. Meanwhile, if you want to relax, you can have it hide work apps. It's a neat idea that still needs some refinement. It's free for now, although Google Play does list in-app purchases up to $49.99. That's concerning, but the app is otherwise pleasant.
Dungeon Hunter Champions launched globally this week. Dungeon Hunter is one of the most popular action RPG franchises on mobile. This one has action RPG and MOBA elements. It boasts 250 collectible heroes, five versus five online PvP, raid bosses, a campaign mode, and tons of quests. Of course, it's a Gameloft game. That means there are freemium elements everywhere and it's a little annoying. However, fans of the genre should enjoy this game for a little while at least. It'll certainly be popular.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about them in the comments below!